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Most Expensive Insurance Markets in the US


Even though many people living in the 10 most expensive health insurance marketplaces will receive government subsidies, they'll still have to pay premiums of $381 and higher.

A sicker population does not necessarily mean more expensive health care considering the region with the most expensive insurance marketplace is located in one of the healthiest states in the nation, according to the results of a new report from Kaiser Health News.

Even though many people living in the 10 most expensive health insurance marketplaces will receive government subsidies, they’ll still have to pay more than other places in the country, according to KHN.

While most of the regions represented on the list reflect the extra costs of caring for locals, often lacking employer-sponsored insurance, in poor health, the most expensive region on the list bucks the trend.

In some of the areas on the list, the high prices are a result of the limited number of hospitals and specialists, so they can demand high prices from insurers.

KHN ranked the regions based on the lowest price silver plan, which the majority of consumers are selecting. In the instance where the insurer does not offer the least expensive plan in a county, KHN noted the cheapest available silver plan.

10. Alaska

Premiums: $381

Downtown Juneau with Mount Juneau. Photo by Alan Wu.

Although Alaskans enjoy the fact that their state has no individual income tax, people looking to get into the health insurance marketplace will not be happy to learn their state is one of the most expensive. Alaska’s aging population contributes more to the state’s need for primary care physicians than any other state, according to research from the Robert Graham Center.

The state has one of the highest spending on health care, particularly in hospital care, physician and clinical services, and dental services, according to data from The Wall Street Journal.

9. Fairfield, Connecticut

Premiums: $383

Saugatuck River in Westport.

As a region full of affluent New York commuters, Fairfield County doesn’t seem like the sort of low-income, unhealthy population one would associate with high health care costs. The state is also among the highest spenders in the country on health care.

And yet, the county of Fairfield has a high density of gyms, plus easy access to the Appalachian Mountains, making it one of the healthiest places to live.

8. Vermont

Premiums: $395

Fall foliage at Hogback Mountain.

Residents of Vermont looking to sign up for health insurance through the marketplace probably got off to a difficult start (even more difficult than the rest of the country). Research from HealthPocket found that call center representatives in Vermont (among a few other states) actually gave the incorrect date for the last day of open enrollment.

7. Southeast Mississippi

Premiums: $399

Counties: George, Harrison, Jackson and Stone. In Hancock County the lowest plan is $447.

Biloxi Lighthouse and Visitor’s Center in Harrison County.

Mississippi has a large population of low-income patients, the fourth largest increase in obesity from 2000 to 2011 and the third most financially unstable residents. So perhaps it’s not so surprising that the state has one of the most expensive health insurance marketplaces.

6. Wyoming

Premiums: $405

Counties: All except Natrona and Laramie.

Jackson in Teton County.

Wyoming’s health care might only get more expensive if access is a key factor. The state has one of the fewest resident slots open with a cap of 6.64 residents per 100,000 people. By 2030, the state will need to increase its primary care physician workforce by 30% to maintain the status quo of care.

However, at least the state has the best state tax climate in the country.

5. Southern Georgia

Premiums: $423

Counties: Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Clinch, Colquitt, Cook, Decatur, Early, Echols, Grady, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Miller, Seminole, Thomas, Tift and Turner.

Historic home in Bainbridge in Decatur County.

Georgia’s high insurance premiums will be difficult for patients as the state has some of the least financially stable residents. Data from the Bankrate Financial Security Index revealed that although Georgians have a respectable average salary of $47,500, the combined credit card and student loan debt tops $32,000.

4. Far Western Wisconsin

Premiums: $445

Counties: Pierce, Polk and St. Croix.

Osceola in Polk County.

Overall, the state of Wisconsin has one of the worst state tax climates, ranking low in individual income tax, property tax and corporate tax rates. However, Wisconsin’s physicians are trying to make access easy and care efficient: the state had one of the highest percentages of physicians with a basic EHR system.

3. Rural Nevada

Premiums: $456

Counties: Churchill, Elko, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Mineral, Pershing and White Pine.

Downtown Eureka.

Nevada will be facing one of the worst primary care physician shortages by 2030, though mostly because of a population growth and not so much because of the ACA, according to the Robert Graham Center.

Nevada’s residents are actually the most financially unstable in the country. The state has one of the worst foreclosure rates, the average resident is carrying $10,670 in credit card debt alone and the unemployment rate is still high at 9.3%.

2. Southwest Georgia

Premiums: $456

Counties: Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Crisp, Dougherty, Lee, Mitchell, Randolph, Schley, Sumter, Terrell and Worth.

Downtown Plains in Sumter County.

Yet another region located in Georgia made the list, unfortunately for Georgians. The state’s expensive health insurance marketplaces might have something to do with the fact that Georgia is projected to have one of the worst primary care physician shortages.

1. Colorado Mountain Resort Region

Premiums: $483

Counties: Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin. Premiums in Summit County are $462.

Downtown Aspen in Pitkin County. Photo by Daniel Case.

Colorado is one of the healthiest states in the country (Health.com ranked it ninth overall last year), which proves that costs aren’t necessarily linked to sicker populations. The region in Colorado that is the most expensive is the ski region, which includes areas surrounding Aspen and Vail.

If $483 a person sounds expensive, then consider Summit County, Colorado, where the average inpatient hospital cost was $786 a person, according to KHN. That’s 61% above the state average—despite the fact that admissions are 10% below average.

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